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Khalil Gibran - On Children

Maybe it’s the leaves dropping from the trees and the weather cooling down, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been listening to a lot of Buddhist philosophy talks, but I’ve been contemplating my mortality a lot lately and the legacy that I’m going to leave with my children.

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I was listening to an interview on the Longform Podcast with Lisa Brennan-Jobs and she recalled a moment from her teenage years where her mom was screaming at a young Lisa in the car while slamming her hands on the dashboard. After reading Lisa’s book, and specifically the passage where Lisa recalled that event, her mom remembered that as she was yelling, crying, and punching the car, thinking that she knew Lisa would remember that moment forever.

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At the baby shower for Hank, the namesake for this site, a close friend read the poem below and from then on it has struck me as truly prophetic. We may give our children our love, but not our thoughts. Our actions are our only possessions.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might 
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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